May 28, 2024

‘Bitcoin Rodney,’ Alleged HyperVerse Crypto Scheme Promoter, Arrest on IRS Charges of Fraud

United States authorities arrested and charged Rodney Burton for allegedly defrauding more than $7 million through a fake investment scheme, according to allegations submitted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Jan. 5.

Burton, also known as “Bitcoin Rodney,” was charged in Maryland with allegedly promoting the HyperVerse crypto investment scheme, court filings show. HyperVerse, also known as Hyperfund, HyperCapital and HyperNation, was an unincorporated organization established around June 2020, the filing said.

“A network of HyperFund promotors, in the District of Maryland and elsewhere, made fraudulent promotional presentations to investors and potential investors,” according to the filing by Andrew J. Accardi, a special agent with the IRS’s Criminal Investigations department. “HyperFund falsely claimed that investors who purchased ‘memberships’ would receive between 0.5% to 1% daily in passive rewards until HyperFund doubled or tripled the investor’s initial investment.”

Burton, the filing alleges, received 562 wire transfers or cashier’s checks, totaling $7,851,711, from individuals. He was arrested on Friday in Florida and will be transferred to Maryland.

The HyperVerse crypto scheme resulted in thousands of people losing millions of dollars, according to an investigation by Guardian Australia last month. The scheme was run by an entity called HyperTech and promoted and run by CEO Steven Reece Lewis, who appears not to exist, according to the newspaper.

Australia’s Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones has said he will ask the country’s Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) why it didn’t warn consumers about the HyperVerse crypto scheme, unlike other nations.

The U.S. Treasury, IRS and Barton’s public defense team didn’t immediately respond to a CoinDesk request for comment.

Sandali Handagama contributed reporting.

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